Chrome's Own Helios Creed
By: Ginger Coyote
got the chance to interview to Chrome guitarist Mr. Helios Creed. His
brilliant work with Chrome along with bands like The Buttthole Surfers
have made him a guitar legend.. Readers here is my interview with
Helios. I hope you all enjoy!
Punk Globe: Thanks so much for the interview Helios. You were born in Long Beach right? Tell us about your early years?
Well, I was born in Long Beach Calif, I could tap into my early
memories of being 3 or 4 year old. And these ladies wiggling there
fingers under my chin saying look at the baby. And me acting more baby
then I really was, to get more attention. I loved the attention, till
one day I was doing my baby acting and this lady said "Quit acting like
a baby, act your age" And blow my cover. I grew up in a place called
Carmaletis in the projects. My best friend the was this little black
boy named Sam. We called him Sambo. One day Sambo and I ran away from
nursery school. I talked sambo into doing it and he was always up for
it. We always got in big trouble together I loved Sambo. When I was 12
I got my fist electric guitar but didn't have a band till later.
Punk Globe: At what age did you start your very first band? Tell us about it?
H.C.: I started my first band at age 15 with a guy named " Stewert Birdic" we called him "birds dick".
Punk Globe: When did you leave Long Beach?
H.C.: Long ago when I was six. My mom re-married My step dad, Who got me a Goya tone from Japan. I really loved that guitar.
Globe: You are best know for your amazing guitar work with Chrome tell
us about them. Who were the original members of the band?
Damon Edge, Mike Low, Gary Span, and John Lambdin. They put together an
album called "The Visitation" They all quit except Gary Spain. Damon
Gary and I went twisted metal and made a set for the Mab. And one day
Damon showed me this tape they made. Some really twisted Stuff.
Punk Globe: How did you join the band or how did you get all together?
I was playing in small clubs doing an acoustic set and I met Gary
Spain. He was playing with John Lambdin and I really dug him, and then
Gary started playing violin for me and he said he was in a band. And I
said, "what's the name of the band?" And Gary said, "CHROME" And I
said, "well, do you have any records"? He goes "Yes, we made an album
called 'The Visitation' and we just got it back." He gave me a copy,
and then about a month later he came back and said the album was a
total flop, and nobody was buying it. And then John and Mike Lowe quit
the band. So Damon and Gary were looking for a
guitarist/singer/frontman type guy, and I said, "I'm the man! You guys
need me". And I knew it was the band for me, that I could help them.
one day, I heard a knock at the door, and I opened it, and Gary and
Damon walked in and this was the first time I met Damon. He was a big
guy with a very low voice, and sorta talked a little monotone. He was
wearing a white sports coat and had long stringy hair. And very alien
looking shades! And he said, "So, do you play guitar"? I said "yes, and
I also sing". So we arranged an audition with Damon Gary and me. And it
was a good fit. And then Damon and I became best friends.
Punk Globe: Was the line up in Chrome pretty much solid through the bands lifetime?
No. After Alien Soundtracks and Half Machine Lip Moves and Red
Exposure, we hired John and Hillary Stench on drums and bass, and that
was the first incarnation of CHROME as a 4-piece.
Punk Globe: Was Chrome involved with The Residents and Ralph Records?
Yes. We did "Subterranean Modern" which had four bands on it, The
Residents, Chrome, Tuxedo Moon, and MX80. And the record was quite a
Punk Globe: How many LP's did you release with Chrome?
Well, with Damon and me, we released 18 albums in total if you include
the 7" singles and box sets and all. Of course later I went on to carry
on Chrome without Damon, and I recorded 4 studio albums. My 2002 "Angel
of the Clouds" actually features Damon on it posthumously, I had found
some old Damon tapes and included some of his poetry and so forth on
Globe: I know your guitar work inspired many band such as The Butthole
Surfers. You ended up playing with them on a project . Tell us about
I did a song on their record "The Annoying Song" off of Independent
Worm Saloon (and also the song "Clean it up Bitch", but I don't know
that they ever used that one for an actual studio release). It was
produced by John Paul Jones of Led Zep fame. Me and John got a long
real well, working on that together, I liked him. And Paul Leary and I
are still friends, he's a great guy. In fact he recorded a song for the
upcoming Helios Creed Tribute Album that is being made for me, with
lots of cool artists, and he's a top one for sure. He recorded it with
his new band Carny, not really sure why the Butts didn't put together a
song for the tribute, but I'm happy to have Paul on board.
Punk Globe: Were you also close with Snakefinger?
Yeah, me and him were close friends. We were going to do something
together, and then unfortunately, he died. Had a heart attack when he
was on tour in Europe in 1987.
Punk Globe: What is some of your favorite work that you did with Chrome?
That's hard to say, I liked them all about equally. They're all like my
babies, you know? I was really fond of "Half Machine Lip Moves" though,
that might just be my favorite Chrome record I made with Damon.
Punk Globe: What about your solo projects. What stands out?
I would say "Last Laugh", 1989. It was very popular, and it fit into
the grunge scene; some people even say it was the fuse that actually
started the grunge scene.
Punk Globe: What caused the break up with the band?
Damon wanted to move to Europe, and I didn't. And I took him to the
airport, and that was the last time I saw him. That was really it, in a
Punk Globe: Did you start a solo project after the breakup or prior?
We broke up in 1983, I started Helios Creed solo in 1985. And that year
I released my first Helios Creed solo album, "X-Rated Fairy Tales".
Punk Globe: What did the other members go on to?
H.C.: John and Hillary did Engorged in Blood. And Damon went on to do his own thing too, before he passed away.
Globe: I remember you playing the clubs in San Francisco in the late
80's and early 90's then you moved. Where did you go from there?
I went to Hawaii in the early 90's and then I went to Kansas because my
parents weren't well, and once they passed on I moved back to the Bay
Area (Santa Cruz) where I still live.
Punk Globe: Tell us about some of your favorite shows you played?
Some of my favorite shows were the smaller clubs, when Superior
Catholic Finger came out in the 80's. As of late- well I recently had a
blast playing with MGMT when they invited me to do a few shows with
them. Those kids are young but man, you'd never know it, they really
know their psychedelic music and are like brothers to me now. We played
a couple shows at Fillmore last year, and months later did a small leg
of SoCal shows, including the Greek Theatre and it was fun. And the Fox
in Pomona Cali was probably the nicest theater I played at, very ornate
and beautiful, in the middle of a small but hip town. And the crowd
there was unreal. There were kids lined up around the block at 5:00.
before we even started loading in.
Punk Globe: A few years ago I remember chatting with you and you were living in Kansas how did you get there?
I went there to help out my parents, be there for them since they
weren't well. And when I was there, I did a tour and as well released
"Dark Side of the Sun". It was a dark time for me.
Punk Globe: Any projects that you are working on or with?
I played with Gary Arce (Yawning Man/Big Scenic Nowhere) recently, and
I have plans to get with him and Mario Lallli soon and work on
something completely new and fresh.
Punk Globe: Have you done any recording lately?
Yes, we've been working on my upcoming solo album for over a year, and
we're in the mixing process now. I really think people will like it- I
sure like it! Lux Vibratus (my bass player) and I have been working on
it, and also Tommy Grenas and Aleph Kali have also been very active in
the entire process, from beginning to end. This album seems different
than any album I've ever done before. Now I can't say for sure if it's
the best album I've ever done, maybe it is, but I think that is up to
the listener to decide.
Punk Globe: Any plans for a tour or any special shows ?
After the album is done, we plan on touring. As well, we're planning on
doing some sort of Desert show that is simulcast, where the entire
concert is available for streaming online for the world to hear.
Michael, from Transparency will be helping to make that happen, he's
been very supportive and helpful throughout the recording of this
Punk Globe: Do you have any web site addresses for fans to contact you at or find out about what you are up to?
If anyone wants to contact me for honest friendship, I have my own
facebook page, but for anything business or music related, please
contact my agent Christina Bishop:
are lots of sites online with my music, and about me- you can just
google Helios Creed or Chrome and you'll find several myspaces, but
they aren't maintained so much anymore. But here is a list of pages I
consider most current and up to date, and are moderated constantly:
one is a tribute website with a lot of memorabilia and archival
material, from old and very current, done by my friend Brent Marley:
http://www.helioschrome.com/ Here are some for interaction, and to keep in touch with my most current activity like new releases, shows, etc.:
is a link for the Helios Creed Tribute Album, which is still in the
making, and they are still accepting and in need of submissions from
bands. There's a myspace page but here is the facebook one:
Punk Globe: Who are some of your favorite recording artists Helios?
Jimi Hendrix, Nik Turner, Hawkwind, Gary Numan, Motorhead, Mike Watt,
Nirvana, MGMT, Jesus Lizard, Butthole Surfers, Gong, John Lennon,
Parliament, Kraftwerk, Neu, Big Scenic Nowhere, Pink Floyd, Can, The
Residents, Tuxedomoon, MX80, Flipper, Cream, Jethro Tull, Big Black,
Black Sabbath, James Brown, Roxy Music, and much much more.
Punk Globe: Do you have any words of advice to young guitar players just starting out?
H.C.: Play your ass off, make sure you are friends with the people you play with, and BE ORIGINAL!
Punk Globe: Thanks so much for the interview Helios...
H.C.: Thanks to you too, it was fun.